Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Love Addict

To be an addict is someone that has allowed for their body chemistry to change by the substance. This substance then dictates the course of the day by regulating the desires of the flesh. The addict no longer has any control of plans that could lead in a direction of decency, order, or success. The plans are always positioned around the substance and how much more of the substance the addict can get.

You would think Christians are supposed to be addicted to love? Isn't there a song about having that sort of addiction? I know, I sung it back in the day. It was a catchy tune too. And yet the lyrics have nothing to do with Christianity. So how does this work in the arena of Christian dating?

When I was finally in a ministry (church) where I was receiving teaching based on the Word and that it is applicable for everyday living, I was ecstatic. I finally could understand why it was important to be a Christian and the changes I needed to make to sustain the abundant life that was promised to me (Romans 8:10 KJV). I was hooked! There was nothing no one could do or say that was going to keep me from church services. I cleaned my car every Saturday readying for Sunday. I planned my wardrobe on Saturday for Sunday. My regular salon appointment for my nails was on Saturday to be prepared for Sunday. My offering envelope was filled out prior to service. I had planned when to leave and what parking space I was going to be in all before getting to the building on Sunday. I prayed for the pastor, the speaker, and the choir to be anointed. It was an event 52 days out of the year...every year...for 18 years! I had to get my fix! I needed that message to be chocked full of goodness to last me all week! Yeah, I went to bible class in mid-week service, but it wasn't like Sunday service. I had to be there, I had to... had to... had to!

In between those 18 years, the pastor's wife taught a lesson that hit hard. That lesson smack lasted for a few years and every once in awhile I had to check myself to see if I was still on point or did I become ....the word she used. Its hard to say. She started off pleasant as usual, but then she began to grimace and started saying things like, "There you are week after week just sitting there and getting fat off the Word. When are you going to get up and do something? When are you going to allow for someone else to have your seat? You have all of this Word in you, what are you doing with it?" The sanctuary was silent. We weren't use to her speaking like this. She normally gives us little taps that we have to watch out for and we walk away grateful for the lesson. This time, we sat there all quiet - I mean collectively. No one moved - no one dared to. There had to be about 5,000 of us there that morning. There were no wells and not one amen was said. She then said, you eat every week and not doing anything with what you consumed is evil. That's right, she said we were evil to be coming to church services for the Word and leaving just to get through to the next week. Evil? Really?

As much as I would have fussed after service sitting alone in my car in the parking lot, I couldn't (Proverbs 1:7 KJV). I didn't wonder about anyone else who drove with their families and what they were saying or not saying. I didn't wonder about those that disregarded that message entirely. I thought about how God uses ministers to give a Word at the time when we need it (2 Timothy 3:16 AMP). I was much younger in the Lord then and I had to reflect to see if what she was saying applied at all to me. Am I taking what is freely given and keeping it for myself? If I am, I see the evil the pastor's wife was speaking about. Selfishness is evil.

How can we consume as much as God gives and not do the same as He has been with us. We are the light of the world and if we are truly to be more like Him then the Love that He has given must also be freely given. If we decided, and I have heard this before, I got mine - you have to do the best you can to get yours, well, I would think the love of God is not in you. A person that gets all he can and expects the other to fend for himself is one that will give a stone when his brother asks for a crust of bread (Matthew 7:9 KJV).

If we are what we eat, then let it be so. If going to church services readies us for the coming of Christ epitomizing what love is, then He should be able to recognize us. We are His mirror image. We have changed. We have been born again. Created a new. The old has passed away along with the old habits that did not exemplify Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV). The new habits progress us forward to abundant life. We assist others for them to learn and do better as well. We do these things because we were once where they were and would also like for them to be in a better place. This is God's love magnified.

It is good to draw near to God for Him to also draw near to us (James 4:8 KJV). It is the relationship that keeps us in righteousness. It is hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd that has us at the ready at all times, watching at all times, listening at all times. An addict waits for the feeling to arise and then acts. Without the feeling he/she searches for it rather then the One who exemplifies what the feeling means. Babies in Christ can be nourished with the feeling only for so long and then it is time to grow up and use what has been given to you. You cannot stay in the nest and expect to get to the heights that He has shown you in vision and what you have written in your plans. Devising ways to get others to take you where you refuse to do for yourself is evil and lazy. Parents who enable this behavior won't see the blessing that God says children are unless the parent changes (Psalm 127:3 AMP). Sometimes an empty nest is the best thing for an addict. The former addict (by faith) will have to assess what talents God has given to him/her. Those talents must be honed, practiced (use of prayer and an education) and used for the process to actually begin (Proverbs 18:16 AMP).

A woman was married and had a son. The marriage fizzled but the woman had to remain strong for her son. She nurtured him and cared for him deeply. Some would believe a little too deeply. She didn't allow him room to grow with friends or relationships that did not include her. Because of her consumption with raising her son, she never had time to see anyone else. Therefore, she never remarried. Oddly, her son never married at all. Never experienced the joy of having children or a career. His mother sought for all of his needs. Now the woman is in her 80's. Her son is in his 60's. They live together in a one bedroom apartment in a senior building. When does a mother's love turn into desperation. When did the son's cling to the apron strings become excessive? Who was supposed to let go first?

God is love. God is good. He is a good Father. He nurtures His children and then sends them to do the work He has trained them to do. The pastor might not be ready for you to leave but it isn't up to the pastor. The pastor might have issues himself, with his staff, with the dwindling attendance, with not listening to the One that gave him the ministry in the first place. His short comings doesn't become your assignment. You have a vision - tend to it.

That single woman with her son - she looks so tired. Her son has some good days but many of them are angry ones. Love doesn't turn to evil. So where did it come from? Could it be she was afraid of being alone? Could she have taught him some things that caused him to be afraid of venturing forth to find a life of his own?  In looking at the mother and son duo, one would think that the two of them have a close relationship. If one looks too close and asks certain questions, what seems loving turns strange. Who is the care giver of whom? God's love doesn't change. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever (Hebrews 13:8 AMP).

If we, as Christians, were truly addicted to God's love then we would be more like Him. We would be holy. We would endure all things. We would not seek for self and would give all we could to help others. If we were truly changed by the substance as an addict would be, the church is ready for the return of our Lord and Savior.

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